The temporary’s key findings are:

  • Many older staff are inclined to work longer, however will employers rent and retain them – right now and sooner or later?
  • A collection of CRR research on this subject present a case for tempered optimism.
  • First, exhausting information counsel that older staff are no less than as productive as youthful ones, although they do value extra.
  • Second, survey information present that employers’ views are largely in step with these exhausting information, and job postings verify a willingness to rent.
  • Lastly, whereas the roles that older staff do right now could also be much less prevalent sooner or later, jobs that they’ve the talents for must be out there.


A typical chorus amongst retirement researchers is that longer careers are one of the best ways to make sure an enough retirement.  This chorus is commonly directed on the staff themselves – “it is advisable work longer!”  And that message appears to have been getting via.  Because the Nineteen Nineties, the labor drive participation charges of older people have elevated.  However, staff are only one facet of the market: the availability facet.  Their skill to work longer additionally depends upon whether or not employers are keen to rent and retain them.  The query is, what does employer demand for older staff appear like right now and sooner or later?  

To reply the query, this temporary synthesizes the outcomes of a number of current Middle research.  These research study employer demand from three completely different angles: 1) the truth of older staff’ worth right now; 2) employers’ perceptions of that productiveness; and three) whether or not older staff’ expertise will likely be a very good match for the roles of the longer term.  

The dialogue proceeds as follows.  The primary part focuses on how right now’s staff have an effect on the underside line by way of productiveness and profitability.  The second part considers how employers understand the worth of older staff utilizing two measures: what employers say to a survey-taker and what they do with respect to postings on a job board.  The third part appears to be like forward to evaluate how effectively older staff’ skills match projections of employer demand in 2030.  

General, room for tempered optimism exists.  First, older staff could also be simply nearly as good as youthful staff for a agency’s backside line.  Second, employer perceptions seem combined – they are saying older staff are no less than as productive however comparatively costly, which can clarify why their job listings particularly focusing on older staff are primarily for decrease paying positions with restricted advantages.  Third, whereas the roles older staff do right now could also be much less prevalent sooner or later, different jobs that older staff have the capability to do must be plentiful.

Are As we speak’s Older Employees Good for Enterprise?

In assessing labor demand for any group, the hope is that staff’ contributions to agency profitability are the first consideration.  However, whereas measuring these contributions could sound simple, it isn’t.  The key problem is the supply of information that comprise each info on staff’ traits – like age – and goal measures of employer profitability.

Fortuitously, Middle researchers obtained entry to restricted Census information and had been capable of mix three databases: 1) the Longitudinal Employer-Family Dynamics; 2) the Longitudinal Enterprise Database; and three) the Census’ Enterprise Register.  These datasets comprise info on worker traits and earnings, payroll and income, and site and trade.  So, the info enable researchers to trace companies and institutions over time, whereas observing their revenues, payroll, and the age composition of their workforces.

With these information in hand, the research estimated how two measures of agency efficiency would change if youthful staff had been changed by older ones.  The primary measure was employee productiveness, outlined as income divided by the variety of staff.  The second measure was profitability, outlined as income per greenback of payroll.  The impact of exchanging youthful staff for older ones was estimated utilizing regression evaluation to check corporations with workforces which can be in any other case comparable in racial, ethnic, and academic makeups, in addition to geographic location.  This estimation was executed in two methods: 1) throughout many industries in a way that yielded non-causal (i.e., correlational) outcomes; and a pair of) in manufacturing solely, exploiting particular options of this trade to acquire causal outcomes.

Desk 1 reveals the correlational outcomes.  On the productiveness facet, no clear proof helps the notion that older staff are much less productive.  Three of the 5 important outcomes are optimistic, with administration, manufacturing, and retail all exhibiting productiveness features from older staff.  Simply two industries – particularly finance – present a big discount in productiveness.  The opposite outcomes usually are not considerably completely different from zero. 

On profitability, the image is extra lopsided, with the estimates typically indicating {that a} bigger share of older staff is related to decrease earnings, which is according to a big physique of analysis exhibiting that wage progress for older staff continues even after their productiveness flattens out.  Nonetheless, within the majority of industries the outcomes weren’t considerably completely different from zero, indicating no clear distinction in profitability between older and youthful staff.  And, the extra refined estimation methodology – which sought to acquire causal outcomes – discovered no proof of decrease profitability in manufacturing for corporations with older workforces.  

So, whereas estimates fluctuate by trade, the proof means that older staff are no less than as productive as youthful ones.  And, whereas older staff’ larger prices could eat into profitability in some industries, most often older and youthful staff are indistinguishable on this entrance.  Certainly, the highest-quality proof, related to the restricted however necessary manufacturing trade, finds no proof of decreased profitability from older staff.  Nevertheless, if these findings are to be mirrored in precise demand for older staff, then employers should have a notion that matches this actuality.  

How Do As we speak’s Employers Understand Older Employees?

To know present employer perceptions of older staff, the Middle used two approaches.  The primary was to easily ask employers via a survey.  The second was to discover what employers really do by analyzing job postings.

What Do As we speak’s Employers Say about Older Employees?

In 2019 – earlier than the pandemic – the Middle commissioned a phone survey by Greenwald and Associates.  The survey queried employers on their views of staff’ productiveness and prices – two points that got here up within the research above.  Determine 1 reveals how employers seen the productiveness and prices of staff ages 55 and over versus these underneath 55, individually for skilled and help employees.

Bar graph showing Employer Evaluations of the Relative Productivity and Cost of Older Workers

The outcomes indicated that employers’ acknowledged views of older staff’ relative productiveness and prices are roughly according to the target measures of staff’ worth mentioned earlier.  On the productiveness entrance, only a few employers view older staff as much less productive.  The bulk say that older staff are equally productive, with a big fraction seeing them as extra productive.  On the associated fee facet, the information is much less optimistic.  Whereas the vast majority of employers see older staff as equally pricey, a large minority see them as extra pricey than youthful ones.

OK, so the vast majority of right now’s employers say that older staff are no less than as productive as youthful ones, and lots of additionally view them as no costlier.  However, do employers act this fashion, recruiting older staff for alternatives on par with youthful ones?

Do As we speak’s Employers Search Out Older Employees?

To discover whether or not employers actively recruit older staff, the researchers turned to RetirementJobs.com, the one main job posting web site focused to people ages 50 and over.  Particularly, the Middle researchers got entry to the web site’s postings as of November 2019, which captures the image earlier than the disruptions of the pandemic period.  Though RetirementJobs.com is significantly smaller than Monster.com or Certainly.com, it’s the solely certainly one of these web sites that may present information on jobs focused to older staff.  

The evaluation divided the roles on the web site into two varieties.  First, it used openings instantly posted to RetirementJobs.com, which represented 20 % of all listings.  These “direct” postings seize employers aiming explicitly at older staff.  The second kind of postings are these fed to the positioning from CareerBuilder.com.  These “oblique” postings counsel employer willingness to rent older, in addition to youthful, staff.  Any distinction between direct versus oblique postings would offer some perception into the varieties of jobs that concentrate on older staff particularly as in contrast to people who usually are not supposed solely for a particular age vary.   

Middle researchers subsequent turned to a comparability between RetirementJobs.com and one of many largest common job boards within the nation.  Since this common job board accommodates hundreds of thousands of listings, a random pattern of 15 listings from every state was chosen for a complete of 765 listings.  The evaluation compares these jobs to each all jobs posted on RetirementJobs.com and the roles instantly focused at older staff.

When specializing in all jobs posted on RetirementJobs.com, the outcomes comprise some optimistic information for older job seekers, with an necessary caveat (see Desk 2).  The primary optimistic level is that the salaries for each the part- and full-time jobs on RetirementJobs.com are considerably larger than these on the final jobs board.  One other piece of excellent information is that the roles usually tend to be full-time positions.  The principle caveat is that these jobs appear much less prone to point out both well being or retirement advantages.  So, older staff could have good alternatives for bridge jobs to retirement, however fewer possibilities to acquire the complete advantages typically related to “profession” jobs.

Table showing a comparison of job postings between retirementjobs.com (all and direct) and a general jobs board

When limiting to jobs posted on to RetirementJobs.com, nevertheless, the optimistic takeaway of upper salaries doesn’t maintain.  The direct postings supply considerably decrease wages than the final jobs board.  And, instantly posted jobs have much less full-time work, extra non permanent work, and fewer advantages.  So, the job postings most particularly focusing on older staff appear to be of decrease high quality than the postings that aren’t age particular, both these showing on RetirementJobs.com or the final jobs board.

Summing Up Demand for Older Employees As we speak

Based mostly on the findings of the three Middle research mentioned above, the scenario appears comparatively optimistic for older staff right now.  In most industries, they’re no less than as productive as youthful ones.  And, whereas their larger wages eat into profitability, in lots of industries older and youthful staff are indistinguishable with respect to this metric.  In a survey, right now’s employers point out that they acknowledge these goal measures, viewing older staff to be no less than as productive as youthful ones, albeit typically with larger prices.  And, to an extent, employers seem to behave this fashion.  They submit comparatively high-salary jobs to a web site focusing on older staff, though jobs that the majority instantly goal for these staff pay much less and have fewer advantages.  All-in-all, issues appear OK right now.  However, what about tomorrow?

Will Demand for Older Employees Maintain up Tomorrow? 

To evaluate whether or not older staff are prone to have good entry to jobs in 2030, Middle researchers tried two completely different approaches.  The primary one was merely to take a look at the roles older staff are doing right now and examine them to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections on the extent of these jobs in 2030.  This evaluation solutions the query: are older staff at the moment doing jobs which can be anticipated to be plentiful on the finish of the last decade?

The second strategy addressed a barely completely different query: are older staff capable of do the roles that will likely be plentiful in 2030, even when they’re not doing them now?  This strategy required the creation of a “Suitability Index” that measured how effectively older staff are prone to do sure jobs.  The Index consists of three indicators for every occupation: 1) the extent to which the talents wanted erode with age; 2) the incapacity software charges; and three) the typical retirement age.  The Index offers a handy abstract measure of which occupations are most congenial to older staff, which may then be in comparison with the expansion charges of varied occupations projected to be out there in 2030.

The primary strategy yields a discouraging consequence.  Determine 2 reveals {that a} one-percentage level improve within the share of older staff in an occupation right now is related to fewer jobs in 2030.  This unfavorable affiliation exists whether or not the supply of future jobs is measured completely utilizing the projected stage in 2030, or as a fee of change between 2020 and 2030.

Bar graph showing the Relationship of Older Workers’ Share of Current Occupations to Employment Outlook in 2030 (Thousands of Jobs)

However what about jobs older staff can do, however could not at the moment be doing?  Right here, utilizing the Suitability Index, the Middle research discovered no statistically important relationship – neither a optimistic one nor (importantly) a unfavorable one – between the suitability of occupations for older staff and the projected variety of jobs in occupations in 2030 or the expansion from 2020-2030.  This discovering is considerably encouraging, because it means that there is probably not a mismatch between the roles older staff are able to doing and people out there sooner or later.  In different phrases, these jobs older staff can do are apparently not going away, even when those they’re at the moment doing look like changing into much less widespread.  


For many years, researchers have been encouraging staff nearing retirement age to maintain working.  However this prescription gained’t work except employers are additionally considering hiring and retaining these staff.  On the employer-demand facet, the general image from the Middle’s analysis appears pretty encouraging.  As we speak, the exhausting information counsel that older staff are no less than as productive as youthful ones and largely indistinguishable on profitability.  Moreover, employers’ acknowledged perceptions on a survey are largely in step with these information.  So are employer actions; whereas employers appear to focus on lower-paying jobs particularly at older staff, in addition they present a willingness to submit high-paying jobs to RetirementJobs.com.

Lastly, little motive exists to doubt that the longer term will look a lot completely different.  Whereas the precise jobs older staff do right now could also be much less prevalent sooner or later, our evaluation signifies that jobs in occupations which can be appropriate for older staff are prone to develop at an analogous tempo as different jobs.  So, whereas older staff might have to vary with the instances and enter some new occupations, their expertise ought to allow them to take action.  Taken collectively, evidently if older staff are keen to produce their labor then demand ought to seemingly be there, right now and into the longer term. 


Munnell, Alicia H. and Gal Wettstein. 2020. “Employer Perceptions of Older Workers – Surveys from 2019 and 2006.” Working Paper 2020-8. Chestnut Hill, MA: Middle for Retirement Analysis at Boston School.

Munnell, Alicia H., Gal Wettstein, and Abigail N. Walters. 2020. “What Jobs Do Employers Want Older Workers to Do?” Working Paper 2020-11. Chestnut Hill, MA: Middle for Retirement Analysis at Boston School.

Munnell, Alicia H., Steven A. Sass, and Mauricio Soto. 2006. “Employers Attitudes towards Older Workers: Survey Results.” Problem in Temporary 6-3. Chestnut Hill, MA: Middle for Retirement Analysis at Boston School. 

Quinby, Laura D., Gal Wettstein, and James Giles. 2023. “Are Older Workers Good for Business?” Working Paper 2023-19. Chestnut Hill, MA: Middle for Retirement Analysis at Boston School.

Siliciano, Robert L. and Gal Wettstein. 2022. “Will the Jobs of the Future Support an Older Workforce?” Working Paper 2022-2. Chestnut Hill, MA: Middle for Retirement Analysis at Boston School.


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